When a certain physicist I know tells me excitedly that he picked up something really cool for me to photograph from the farmer’s market, I know that it will undoubtedly be an edible object that in some way visualizes some fundamental principle about how the world works. In this case it was a head of romanesco broccoli with its beautiful repeating pattern that is a “natural representation of the Fibonacci … a logarithmic spiral where every quarter turn is farther from the origin by a factor of phi, the golden ratio.” (source)
Indeed! Well, I did have fun photographing it. When I thought I was done, I put away my camera and picked up a knife. It was time for dinner, you see. But then at the look on the physicist’s face, I put the knife down and said, “Uhm, would you like the honors?” And so he gently broke it apart revealing and reveling in the ever smaller yet repeated pattern of the larger broccoli.
In the end he sauteed the little bits in garlic and olive oil and topped it with a bit of cheese. Quite good. And there remained just enough of the veggie to place in a little ramekin. “Like a little Christmas tree,” he said. “We could decorate it with baby capers!” I don’t think so but it looks like I will have the opportunity to photograph this tasty mathematical subject a while longer.